The Rondeau


Basic features & history of the verse form:
Number of lines 15
Structure / divisions Quintet / quatrain / sestet
Rhyme scheme aabba / aabR / aabbaR
Meter In English, usually iambic tetrameter
Refrain line or lines Yes — opening words of the first line recur as the refrain (designated as R)
Time / place of origin Late 13th or early 14th century France
Medieval / Renaissance poets
  associated with this form
Charles d'Orleans, Clement Marot, Sir Thomas Wyatt
Examples written in English
  by or before —
14th century (Chaucer)


An example of a rondeau:

For to Love Her for Her Looks Lovely
by Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542)

      1  (a)  For to love her for her looks lovely
      2  (a)  My heart was set in thought right firmly,
      3  (b)  Trusting by truth to have had redress :
      4  (b)  But she hath made another promise,
      5  (a)  And hath given me leave full honestly.
      6  (a)  Yet do I not rejoice it greatly :
      7  (a)  For on my faith I loved too surely :
      8  (b)  But reason will that I do cease
      9  (R)  For to love her.
    10  (a)  Since that in love the pain's been deadly,
    11  (a)  Me think it best that readily
    12  (b)  I do return to my first address ;
    13  (b)  For at this time too great is the press
    14  (a)  And perils appear too abundantly
    15  (R)  For to love her.


A Brief Guide to Some Medieval and Renaissance Verse Forms

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Table and its contents copyright 2004 by Jennifer M. Tom    ( Jennifer Monroe Franson )